It is one thing to find and save material you use later. It is quite another to find that nugget when you want to use it sometime – maybe months – later. To eliminate the problem before it develops, there are several ways that, taken together, will make the process easier.

First, keep all your information downloads in a single folder; don’t spread them out across the computer. You can certainly make subfolders within that folder. Think the process through and remember there is no one file system that’s best. There is only one that is best for you.

Consider getting, installing, and using a desktop search engine. They are available at low cost or even no cost. They can be found by typing “desktop search engine” into your usual search engine.

Simply typing in key words into a desktop search egine will usually help find the article you want, but winnowing down even that list can be daunting so you need some additional techniques.

It helps to have the files named in some consistent pattern that makes sense to you. When saving the files, develop and follow a consistent naming pattern. For instance you might:

Put the year first, then the month and finally the date in a two-number increment of year-month-date. This will make search for a particular time frame easier. 150101 will always come before 151231, and the dates in between will be sequential.

That number may be followed by the subject, a country or both. Leave no spaces in the file title as spaces will be filled with an “&” sign. That makes both reading and searching difficult. Type all letters in lower case; do not use capitals as a mixed line will also make searches more difficult. The subject may be run in with date, or separated by an underscore (_). The saved file may now have a name like 150101venezuelaeconomy or 151231_usstamps. Additional key words, or even codes you develop to identify the material, may be added but try to keep the file name as short as possible. Then put in a hyphen. Do not use a hyphen prior to this. The hyphen is used to signal that everything after it is the URL, allowing you or another researcher to get back to the original item on the web. The saved file now has the name of 150101venezuelaeconomy- or 151231_usstamps-.

Now connect your front end name of the file to the URL so that it looks like: 150101venezuelaeconomy-www.sitename.com or 151231_usstamps-www.sitename.com.

The result is a file name that is identifiable, dated as to download date, and has a working URL linked to it so that a researcher can return to the original location if needed.